A. Windows Desktop Search is essentially an integrated indexing solution to help you find information stored on your computer, be it documents, images, email messages, music files, video, or more than 200 other types of files. You can initiate searches from the Windows Desktop, Microsoft Outlook, and even Internet Explorer (IE), and the index files used are updated only during computer idle time, so the update doesn't degrade the user experience.

You can deploy the Desktop Search feature via Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS), Group Policy, or Windows Software Update Services (WSUS). Additionally, you can use third-party iFilter add-ons to index file types via Desktop Search. You can download Desktop Search at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/desktopsearch/downloads/default.mspx , and the download includes the search engine and .adm files for Group Policy management.

Double-click the file to install it; the installation will proceed with minimal user interaction. Command-line options exist that allow you to run the installation with no end-user input (the /quiet switch) and to close Outlook automatically if it's open during execution (/WDSCLOSEOL). All the command-line options are available at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windows/search/dtsinstall.mspx#ETBAC .

You'll use the Windows Desktop Search Customization Wizard to select what to index (e.g., all hard disks, My Documents, or selected folders, as the figure shows).

The wizard also lets you select additional add-ins (e.g., the Adobe PDF add-in) and whether to display the Windows Search Deskbar, which resides on the Windows taskbar, to enable fast access. To use the utility, type the search criteria in the Search Desktop box and you'll see a list of results, or click the "Search Desktop" button to launch the full interface, which features full preview capabilities, as the figureshows.